chicagomag.com offers a profile of Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy. The not-so-puffy puff piece piece focused on the top cop’s inability to reduce Chicago’s soaring murder rate. “Two months after McCarthy arrived, the murder toll—the stat by which police superintendents are most judged—began to inch upward. And after a brief winter respite, violence surged in March of this year. Through June 17, police reported 240 homicides, a 38 percent increase over the same period in 2011 . . .
The situation is particularly worrisome in light of statistics that show the number of murders and shootings starting to level off before McCarthy and Emanuel took over.
Chicago Magazine should expect a call from Hizzoner’s PR thugs any minute now. Meanwhile and needless to say the increase in Windy City rub-outs is all about the gangs . . .
McCarthy’s citywide gang audit, completed in May, shows that Chicago now has 59 active street gangs with 625 factions. That’s up from 500 factions and 68 gangs in 2003. This continued fracturing of the local gangs, McCarthy believes, is the reason for the rash of recent violence.
Notice that the author updates the gang stats by listing factions first, then the total number of gangs. ‘Cause otherwise you’d focus on the fact that there are LESS Chicago gangs now than at the start of McCarthy’s tenure but MORE murders.
There’s a reason for that! The Chief and his minions would have you believe less is more because their crime fighting is working—too well.
The splintering stems from a lack of leadership; many of the highest-ranking chiefs are in prison or dead. “We took the generals out, and we now have the gangs being run by sergeants,” explains Leo Schmitz, the commander of the Englewood District (7th). “Instead of having an area, now they have blocks.” This means increased rivalry—and, as a result, more shootings.
Schmitz describes an adversary who is younger, more reckless, and more likely to pull a trigger. “Young people are making very quick decisions,” he says, “and most of the time they are the wrong ones.”
Bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do?
The audit information has become the foundation for McCarthy’s plan to combat gangs, informing a new computer system that puts updated intelligence in the hands of beat officers. Additional tactics include a new ballistics unit to aid in building criminal cases, the call-ins between gang members and officers, and the shutting down of liquor stores that double as hangouts. “This is not a new problem,” McCarthy said at a May 29 news conference, discussing his gang strategy. “What it is, is a new solution that we’re applying to it.”
Attacking free enterprise. Yeah, that ought to do it. Hey, at least Chief McCarthy isn’t resorting to outright thuggery like they did back in the day, which Chicago describes in an entirely wistful not-to-say loving sort of way . . .
One thing that McCarthy can’t do, however, is rely on units that specialize in fighting gangs . . .
Several former specialized-unit officers interviewed for this story recall the way gang members knew them by their unit number, say, a 42 or 44 on their cars. “They feared us,” one says. “I’m not trying to be arrogant. It’s just that when you’d pull somebody over, you’d see them looking. They’d see the unit number and put their hands on their car.”
For some communities, aggressive cops, known as “jump out boys,” represented the worst of the department. Revelations in 2006 that some officers robbed and kidnapped residents, and the accusations a year later that one officer plotted to murder another, bolstered that point of view.
McCarthy believes that specialization is the enemy of community policing—an idea that took root long before he came to Chicago. “With specialization, those guys have zero connection to the community,” he says. “They offend a lot of people because not everybody is a perp.”
Wow. Talk about a psychological breakthrough. Thanks for sharing that with the group Garry. Does anyone else want to talk about their feelings about the community they serve and protect? Commander Burge?
Here’s my main point: thanks to Chicago’s gun control laws, everyone in Chicago who isn’t a perp is a potential victim of gang-related violence and intimidation. More to the point, they are entirely reliant entirely on the Chicago police to “tackle” violent crime.
Wrong answer. To stem the rising tide of criminality in Chicago the community must take responsibility for policing itself.
I know that concept flies in the face of Chicago machine politics and Big Government beneficence. But there it is: a truly effective anti-crime plan encourages law-abiding members of the community to stand up against unlawful behavior with the police and judicial system behind them.
Do citizens need a gun to do that? Accepted wisdom says no, of course not. Policing for the people, not by the people. That would encourage . . . vigilantes! Besides, it takes a village to fight gang culture, aided by really expensive social programs (including unaccountable “interrupters“). As for the actual crime, it’s best to leave lethal force to the professionals (e.g., Commander Burge). Etc.
At the risk of seeming like a “gun rights extremist”(that’s MR gun Rights Extremist to you Rahm), I say yes, Chicago citizens do need firearms to counter crime in their community.
If nothing else, restoring Chicago residents’ right to keep and bear arms would signal a profound psychological shift from us (the community) vs. them (the gangs) with them (the police) attempting to protect us (the community) from them (the gangs) while alienating us (the community) from them (the police); to us (the community and the police) vs. them (the gangs).
See how much simpler that is? I’m not sure how many armed civilians Chicago would need to make an appreciable difference in the balance of power, disrupting the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, drugs and violence. But I reckon we should find out.